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Pritzker’s most recent demand of Madigan: Answer the questions

Friday, Jul 31, 2020

* Gov. Pritzker yesterday in Ottawa…

Question: If the Speaker called you today, would you say stay or go?

Pritzker: Well I’ve been very clear about my position about this. I mean I think the speaker has an enormous amount to answer for. There are questions that the public needs to hear the answer to. I do, too. And so that’s what I would start with, questions about exactly what happened here. And what are these allegations that are being made that are somewhat vague, frankly, I mean there’s more information you would need but in that deal, the deferred prosecution agreement, the DPA, for ComEd, there is obviously reference to the speaker and and to people around the speaker. I want to know those connections. I want to understand what it is the speaker was doing. He needs to answer these questions. I think many many of us have called for that.

Please pardon any transcription errors that I didn’t catch.

* Gov. Pritzker on the Skullduggery podcast

Q: Governor, I want to switch gears a little bit. Illinois has a long and storied history of corruption in its politics. I know you would hope that that was a thing of the past, but the Speaker of the Illinois House, and the Chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party, Michael Madigan, was recently implicated in a pay to play scandal involving ComEd. A growing number of Democratic lawmakers are calling on Madigan to resign. One the other day, state Sen. Heather Steans said he needs to quit now over what she called, quote, a sordid picture of bribery influence peddling and insider dealing. Now you have not called on Madigan to resign. You said only if the allegations are proven to be true or if he is indicted or convicted. Is that really the only standard for participating in public life in Illinois, either you’re convicted or it’s okay to serve?

Pritzker: That’s not the standard that I set. I did say that the speaker would need to resign if the allegations are true. And I have we have, unfortunately, as you know, had other corrupt politicians who have been indicted over the last year and a half and the same standard here that, you know, when their offices get raided when they’re indicted, you know, when the facts come forward, that are directed at them. That is when it is time for people in important positions to either resign their position within the legislature or resign the legislature all together. And in either of those, you know, any circumstance of these allegations being shown to be true. As I’ve said with the other legislators, you know, when there is a preponderance of this kind of activity, you know, raids of their offices, etc. That is when people need to be resigning. Look, there is a growing belief that the speaker has a lot to answer for. There is an awful there are an awful lot of questions that he needs to answer and I have called for him to answer those questions. But thus far we have not heard from him.

Q: Right. I mean, but look, he has been identified in a federal indictment as Public Official Number One, the facts have been are laid out in that indictment of all sorts of payments going to friends and associates of his in exchange for favorable legislation for ComEd. What more do you need to know at this point to say, yes, Michael Madigan has to go?

Pritzker: Well, that’s what I’m saying is, those are serious allegations. Well, let’s start with the fact that this massive utility has committed massive infractions, right? They’ve been found guilty, essentially. And in the process of that, all kinds of things are coming to light. And we need answers to those questions because there hasn’t been any direct indictment. There’s an implication absolutely about a number of people in there. We need to know much, much more. But the truth is that we have a real problem here. There is no doubt about it a need for ethics legislation in our state that we have not seen before. I have called for major changes in the law. For example, we need to stop this the idea that a legislator can quit one day and become a lobbyist/consultant the next day. That kind of revolving door has existed in Illinois. It’s got to go and legislators can no longer while they’re legislators be lobbyists at other levels of government. Those are two examples of loopholes that exist in this State of Illinois that don’t exist elsewhere that we need to close.

And then we need to see exactly what it is that ComEd did that we don’t have a law that covers, and then make sure that we’re closing those loopholes. And that I think is going to be revealed in the process of the conviction of ComEd and the revelations around the people who are written about in the ComEd indictment.

* Gov. Pritzker today in Chicago on Speaker Madigan…

He continues to have unanswered questions hanging out there. He needs to stand up and answer those questions.

I’ve said this from the very beginning, I believe that people who serve the public interest, people who get elected to public office have a duty to be transparent, and to live up to the integrity that’s demanded by the public for their public service. He needs to stand up and answer these questions because people have serious questions about those things.

* The ILGOP sent out a release today responding to his Ottawa remarks…

In case you missed it, WCIA’s Mark Maxwell posted this video of Governor J.B. Pritzker dodging and weaving questions yesterday in Ottawa about whether House Speaker Michael Madigan should resign.

Pritzker now downplays the evidence presented in filings from the U.S. Attorney as “somewhat vague.” He says that he would like to ask Madigan some questions and that the people of Illinois deserve to hear from Madigan. But Pritzker refused to join the growing number of Democrats calling for Madigan to resign.

Here are the new questions Pritzker just raised:

    1. What allegations against Madigan does Pritzker find vague? What connections does he not see? Newspapers have reported extensively on the allegations in question.
    2. If Pritzker wants to ask Madigan questions, has he called him in the last week? If yes, what did they discuss? If not, why not?
    3. Does Pritzker believe that Madigan would ever admit guilt under questioning – should the standard of whether Madigan needs to resign be Madigan’s own word?]
    4. Pritzker knows that Madigan is not holding press conferences and that he won’t be answering questions publicly. So isn’t it a cop-out to say he wants to hear Madigan address questions before he would call on him to resign? Does that mean Pritzker will never call on Madigan to resign?
    5. Why is it so hard for Pritzker to join other Democrats in calling for Madigan to resign – what is Pritzker so afraid of?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

48 Comments »
  1. - Publius - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 2:48 pm:

    If this was Trump Republicans would be saying this was a witch hunt and fake news. Where is the ILGOP on the Trump impeachment? That’s right they said “As the president has always said, this is the greatest WITCH HUNT we have ever seen!” Schneider said in the email.


  2. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 2:49 pm:

    === Well I’ve been very clear about my position about this. I mean I think the speaker has an enormous amount to answer for. There are questions that the public needs to hear the answer to. I do, too. And so that’s what I would start with, questions about exactly what happened here. And what are these allegations that are being made that are somewhat vague, frankly, I mean there’s more information you would need but in that deal, the deferred prosecution agreement, the DPA, for ComEd, there is obviously reference to the speaker and and to people around the speaker. I want to know those connections. I want to understand what it is the speaker was doing. He needs to answer these questions. I think many many of us have called for that.===

    “Shorter”?

    I have no answer to this question;

    “If the Speaker called you today, would you say, stay or go?”

    Welp…


  3. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 2:57 pm:

    === As I’ve said with the other legislators, you know, when there is a preponderance of this kind of activity, you know, raids of their offices, etc. That is when people need to be resigning.===

    Narrator: As of today, Madigan *has* had his office “visited” by federal law enforcement.

    This is… today? Ugh.

    === He continues to have unanswered questions hanging out there. He needs to stand up and answer those questions.

    I’ve said this from the very beginning, I believe that people who serve the public interest, people who get elected to public office have a duty to be transparent, and to live up to the integrity that’s demanded by the public for their public service. He needs to stand up and answer these questions because people have serious questions about those things.===

    If the Governor would merely say *one* of two things…

    The Arroyo Rule

    The House takes care of House business, and set the standard for members.

    … Pritzker would be fine.

    The gemming and hawing and phony stomping of feet “answer to” mumbo-jumbo, if you’re gonna hedge and not address it, make it about the House Chamber and be done with it.

    He’s had 2 whole weeks to come up with better evasive answers. Pritzker now looks afraid to see things as he made clear in that first gobbily-gook answer, the Feds has warrants.


  4. - allknowingmasterofraccoodom - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:02 pm:

    Oswego Willy - “The Arroyo Rule

    The House takes care of House business, and set the standard for members.

    … Pritzker would be fine.

    The gemming and hawing and phony stomping of feet “answer to” mumbo-jumbo, if you’re gonna hedge and not address it, make it about the House Chamber and be done with it.

    He’s had 2 whole weeks to come up with better evasive answers. Pritzker now looks afraid to see things as he made clear in that first gobbily-gook answer, the Feds has warrants.”

    Yea, he would be fine. And he would be showing us what kind of leader his is. The fact that he “would be fine” is exactly what is wrong with this state.


  5. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:04 pm:

    === Yea, he would be fine. And he would be showing us what kind of leader his is. The fact that he “would be fine” is exactly what is wrong with this state.===

    Pritzker is NOT a member of the House.

    If the House can’t handle their business…


  6. - 1st Ward - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:04 pm:

    Again, the direct question isn’t being asked to the Governor. Isn’t their a different standard in being just a state rep and being a state rep who is the speaker? Given the facts and ethical issues raised should he not resign as speaker and only resign as state rep if the allegations are true/indicted/convicted.


  7. - Dotnonymous - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:05 pm:

    Where I come from that’s called… crawfishin’.


  8. - 1st Ward - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:06 pm:

    Pritzker needs to be asked isn’t there a different standard in being a state rep and being a state rep who is the speaker of the house? Resigning as speaker doesn’t mean resigning as a rep.


  9. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:06 pm:

    JB said the DPA has obvious “connections” to the speaker - should have used “buffers”


  10. - Roman - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:12 pm:

    Lots and lots of words there. And he’s gonna have to regurgitate them at every public appearance for the foreseeable future. House Dems face the same miserable fate. They’re lucky Covid has drastically cut there interaction with the public and the press, saving them from some of the pain. A coronavirus silver lining for the speaker. If individual members had to walk this rhetorical gauntlet on a daily basis like JB does, more might be calling on the speaker to step down.


  11. - The Dude Abides - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:12 pm:

    The Governor had a chance to lead by example for the Democratic men in the House and declare that Madigan should resign but he passed.


  12. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:18 pm:

    Maybe there should be a bit of easing up and waiting until an indictment comes. If Madigan gets indicted the clamoring for his resignation should be very loud. We’re in a raging pandemic with catastrophic economic consequences, so much bigger fish to fry. We need the federal government to give state and local governments money, and another stimulus.


  13. - JM - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:18 pm:

    Meanwhile, in Ohio…the speaker was voted out and the tentacles are squeezing due to utility scandal there… https://www.dispatch.com/news/20200731/ohio-coal-giant-murray-energy-is-100k-dark-money-donor-rsquocompany-brsquo-in-federal-probe


  14. - SSL - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:18 pm:

    It’s a messy business isn’t it. JB has worked hard to guide Illinois through the pandemic, and he’s done a pretty decent job of it. And his reward is to get dragged into a situation so nasty it may finally bring down the longest serving political boss in the country. He doesn’t want to do this dance. What if Madigan survives? We know how he treats anyone who slights him in the least. JB’s agenda would be DOA if he angers the Velvet Hammer.

    We may need more popcorn. Seems like this could drag on a bit.


  15. - RuetheDay - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:22 pm:

    People are overlooking the fact that Madigan is likely following the Rostenkowski model of
    using his resignation as a negotiating chit to reduce his prison sentence with the Feds.
    Locking in support to keep the gavel kept that card in his back pocket to play down the road with the Feds.


  16. - Wylie Coyote - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:23 pm:

    Obviously the state’s highest ranking official is not in charge.


  17. - radio flyer - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:25 pm:

    JB keeps on digging. His missteps make it more interesting to reporters to keep asking. And other Democrats see a governor scared to answer, which means the pressure will only grow on them.


  18. - low level - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:26 pm:

    So … Lang and Mapes. Sexual harassment claims. Speaker got on his high horse and “I demanded their resignations”

    $200,000,000 fine for 9 year long hiring scheme?
    “I made a few calls and am not resigning”

    What an example of leadership. /s


  19. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:26 pm:

    === the fact===

    You may believe it, it doesn’t make it fact.

    Unless you personally know negotiations are going on to a guilty plea, for an indictment yet to see the light of day, I’m not seeing the USA looking, “today” for a plea of something from someone that has yet to happen.

    Oh. Also “Ohio”… they are kinda/sorta going thru “same”, doesn’t look like any leverage/agreement/plea deal… looks like a trap sprung.

    With respect.


  20. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:27 pm:

    Madigan should be grilled by the press. So many have to routinely face people who are angry at what they did and are called into account. He’s not special and should publicly face the questions.


  21. - radio flyer - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:28 pm:

    ===Madigan should be grilled by the press.===

    Why would he ever hold a press conference when JB Pritzker makes excuses for him and keeps taking the arrows? Joke’s on JB.


  22. - Frank talks - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:28 pm:

    Man Scott Drury left too soon. He’d be loving this.


  23. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:28 pm:

    === Obviously the state’s highest ranking official is not in charge.===

    In charge of what, the Illinois House?

    If there were 60 House members calling for resignation and the governor was still sidelining himself, yeah, that’d be odd, but the House would be in charge of itself.

    And again… I think Madigan should resign.


  24. - 1st Ward - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:33 pm:

    “And his reward is to get dragged into a situation so nasty it may finally bring down the longest serving political boss in the country.”

    ComEd was being investigated prior to him running. Close allies to Madigan have been raided and wiretapped. JB is smart and has had plenty of time to think through talking points/strategy in the event of this.

    “We know how he treats anyone who slights him in the least. JB’s agenda would be DOA if he angers the Velvet Hammer”

    If JB came out and said the speaker needs to step down the progressive caucus and alot of moderate dems statement would read the same. DOA is not an option as state Dems would look like state R’s. Further, see JB’s state voter approval ratings vs. Madigans. See JB’s pocketbook vs. Madigan.


  25. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:35 pm:

    “If you’re explaining, you’re losing”


  26. - Fly like an eagle - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:39 pm:

    == Obviously the state’s highest ranking official is not in charge.==
    Members of the General Assembly don’t work for the Governor.


  27. - Derek Smalls - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:41 pm:

    I agree with The Dude Abides. Every time another Democrat comes forward and demands resignation with no “if true” qualifier it makes the Governor’s weak stance look even weaker.


  28. - AD - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:48 pm:

    === Maybe there should be a bit of easing up and waiting until an indictment comes.===

    Yeah, he’s definitely innocent. ComEd just likes paying $200M fines to the Feds when nothing actually happened between them and Public Official A.


  29. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:53 pm:

    Pritzker is underplaying his hand. Although I doubt there will be an indictment, or perhaps it is a long way off, he has the chance to rid himself of the most powerful man in Illinois politics that there has ever been. Yet, he is not taking the opportunity. Now is the time for J.B. to take action and consolidate his power. This is one of those times where being overly cautious makes him look very foolish.


  30. - Fly like an eagle - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:55 pm:

    == Yeah, he’s definitely innocent. ComEd just likes paying $200M fines to the Feds when nothing actually happened between them and Public Official A.==
    Chump change for them. They already said they would plead not guilty if it came to it.


  31. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:56 pm:

    === he’s definitely innocent.===

    (Sigh)

    All federal indictments have this sort of disclaimer;

    === A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.===

    But, “convict then let’s indict”?


  32. - AD - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:58 pm:

    === Chump change for them. They already said they would plead not guilty if it came to it.===
    So did OJ


  33. - 17% Solution - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 3:58 pm:

    === is a long way off, he has the chance to rid himself of the most powerful man in Illinois politics that there has ever been. Yet, he is not taking the opportunity.===
    Governors can get rid of members of the house? Why didn’t Rauner do this?


  34. - Southwest Sider - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 4:00 pm:

    Some State Reps, Some State Senators, a few Democrats are turning. If Pritzker was more direct in calling for a resignation, it would give cover to others to come out. Pritzker is just being careful and prudent. His comments are appropriate.


  35. - Fly like an eagle - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 4:02 pm:

    == So did OJ.==
    And was declared not guilty in his criminal case.


  36. - AD - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 4:03 pm:

    === But, “convict then let’s indict”?===

    OW- I’m not saying that he will be found guilty by the Feds, but with them paying the fine, is there any reasonable doubt that something happened there? And if there’s no reasonable doubt and with there being a higher standard that a House Speaker is held to, is that not enough to call for his resignation?


  37. - AD - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 4:05 pm:

    === And was declared not guilty in his criminal case.===

    Touche, but he lost almost everything else. Friends, family, career opportunities.


  38. - Fly like an eagle - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 4:08 pm:

    I’m sure Madigan doesn’t need anymore career opportunities. If anything he should slow down a bit.


  39. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 4:13 pm:

    === Touche, but he lost almost everything else. Friends, family, career opportunities.===

    I dunno what you’re trying to say, but…

    ===is there any reasonable doubt that something happened there?===

    Reasonable doubt is how people are found not guilty too.

    === is that not enough to call for his resignation?===

    I think he should resign. So what’s your point?

    Slow down, speed racer. We’ll find out where we are, and Pritzker will also find out what his take is going forward too.


  40. - Last Bull Moose - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 4:15 pm:

    Would expect that JB’s people are reaching out and counting votes. If JB has the votes, then he should act. Otherwise, hold fire and see what the feds surface.

    Worst case is for JB to strike and miss.


  41. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 4:19 pm:

    === Would expect that JB’s people are reaching out and counting votes. If JB has the votes, then he should act.===

    Act how? Vote what?

    Durkin has a resolution, how many Dems are on board?


  42. - 17% Solution - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 4:19 pm:

    == If JB has the votes, then he should act.==
    ?
    Do what exactly?


  43. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 4:22 pm:

    === Touche, but he lost almost everything else. Friends, family, career opportunities.===
    A silver lining. I guess Madigan will find out who his true friends are. Better late than never.


  44. - Keyrock - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 4:23 pm:

    Fly Like an Eagle - of course Com Ed said they’d plead not guilty. They have to say that to try to minimize civil liability and other collateral consequences. But in the real world, if DOJ policy didn’t offer them a sweetheart Deferred Prosecution Agreement, they’d have little choice but to plead guilty.


  45. - Fly like an eagle - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 4:29 pm:

    The differed prosecution was a really good deal for them. They get to keep all the profits of the rate hikes. As I said the 200 million was chump change for them.
    == But in the real world,==
    This is the real world, sugar.


  46. - Frumpy white guy - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 4:31 pm:

    Separation of powers. Executive, legislative, and Judicial. JB
    Pritzker he’s taking the right approach. The Illinois House representatives not so much.


  47. - R A T - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 4:39 pm:

    We only know two things at this point:

    $200,000,000
    Public Official A is MJM

    If those two things are not enough for EVERY democrat at every level to say that he needs to resign as Speaker, then I am disappointed in them.


  48. - All this - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 4:46 pm:

    == We only know two things at this point: $200,000,000
    Public Official A is MJM==
    The $200,000,000 is meaningless. Public Official A less so.


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